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Bryan Stork misses Patriots practice; Dont’a Hightower, Brandon Browner among 4 limited

01.14.15 at 4:16 pm ET
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Bryan Stork

Bryan Stork

FOXBORO — The Patriots released their first injury report of AFC championship week on Wednesday in advance of Sunday’s game.

Rookie center Bryan Stork (knee) was the only player to miss Wednesday’s practice — this after leaving Saturday’s game against the Ravens and not returning. The team also had four players limited in the session held on the game field at Gillette Stadium.

Three players not on the injury report last week were added this week, including Brandon Browner (knee) who left Saturday’s game and didn’t return. Dont’a Hightower’s shoulder injury has popped back up and Chris Jones has been added with an elbow injury.

Wide out Brandon LaFell remains limited with a shoulder/toe injury and Tom Brady (ankle) was a full participant.

Julian Edelman‘s concussion and Jonas Gray’s ankle injuries have been removed from the report.

Here is the complete practice report:

Did not participate

C Bryan Stork (knee)

Limited participation

CB Brandon Browner (knee)
LB Dont’a Hightower (shoulder)
DT Chris Jones (elbow)
WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder/toe)

Full participation

QB Tom Brady (ankle)

Read More: 2015 playoffs, Patriots practice report,

Bill Belichick hails Colts as ‘the toughest team’ Pats have played all year

01.14.15 at 3:05 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The clear and common assumption after Saturday’s 35-31 heart-pounding win was that the Ravens would be the toughest hurdle the Patriots have to clear on their path to another Super Bowl appearance.

Not so fast says Bill Belichick. The Patriots head coach, perhaps as a warning to his own players, told everyone that would listen Wednesday that these Colts are not the same finesse team New England ran over, around and through on Nov. 16 at Lucas Oil Stadium.

“I’€™d like to start off by saying on behalf of the team and the organization it’€™s a great honor to be in this game, to have the opportunity to compete for the AFC Championship,” Belichick said in his opening remarks. “It’€™s something that the team’€™s worked obviously extremely hard and long to get to this point, to have this opportunity. We’€™re excited about it. We have a tremendous amount of respect for our opponent. I think this is the toughest team that we’€™ve played all year.”

The reason for Belichick’s warning and concern is two-fold. First, the Patriots fumbled the ball and fell behind 14 points twice against Baltimore and the coach feels they were lucky to scratch their way back. Secondly, they’re facing a Colts team that is brimming with confidence, beating the Broncos in Denver on Sunday, eliminating Peyton Manning and advancing to their first AFC championship since Peyton Manning took the Colts to Super Bowl XLIV in Miami in 2009.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2015 playoffs, AFC Championship, Bill Belichick, Indianapolis Colts

Rob Gronkowski ready for ’emotional’ game, but ‘when emotions get rolling you have to put the team first’

01.14.15 at 2:48 pm ET
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Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are both very emotional players. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are both very emotional players. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — It was an emotional game the last time the Patriots and Colts met on Nov. 16, especially for tight end Rob Gronkowski when he blocked Colts safety Sergio Brown 10 yards off the field and into a NBC camera station.

After the game he said Brown was, “yappin'” all game so he “threw him out of the club.”

It should be another emotional game Sunday with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line, but Gronkowski knows while playing with emotion is good, he can’t have it turn into something that will hurt the team.

“You just have to go out there and play football. It’s definitely an emotional game and when emotions get rolling you have to put the team first,” said Gronkowski. “Got to play with emotion, play hard, be physical, be mentally ready. Emotions definitely come into play, but you have to be emotionally ready.”

Quarterback Tom Brady in particular has been known for being an emotional player — both high and low. Gronkowski said he loves playing with a player like that, as being very passionate is part of the game.

“€œThat’€™s always good to see a teammate like that –€“ it gets everyone fired up, it gets everyone passionate,” said Gronkowski. “I hope every player does that on the team, but definitely when you see Tom do it, it motivates you and shows how much passion he’€™s got going on at the moment. It definitely gets you going.”

As for going against Brown again, Gronkowski wasn’t going to go there.

“I’m just excited to go out there and play the game of football, no matter who it is [versus],” he said.

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Read More: 2015 playoffs, Rob Gronkowski, Sergio Brown, Tom Brady

Mike Petraglia, Chris Price preview Andrew Luck, Colts vs. Tom Brady, Patriots for AFC title

01.14.15 at 2:37 pm ET
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FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price preview the AFC Championship between the Patriots and Indianapolis Colts Sunday at GIllette Stadium. The game is a rematch of the Nov. 16 meeting at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis when Jonas Gray ran for 201 yards and four touchdowns on 37 carries in a 42-20 Patriots’ win. This is the second time Andrew Luck is facing Tom Brady in the playoffs, with the Patriots winning, 43-22, last year, a game that featured four Luck interceptions.

Read More: 2015 playoffs, AFC Championship, Chris Price, Indianapolis Colts

Rex Ryan says he will ‘build a bully’ with Bills

01.14.15 at 2:33 pm ET
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The Bills introduced Rex Ryan as their new coach at a Wednesday press conference, and Ryan made it clear that he will continue to be the same confident coach who had some success in six seasons with the Jets before being fired after a 3-13 season.

“I’m not going to let our fans down,” Ryan said. “I’m not going to do that. I know it’s been 15 years [since the Bills were in the playoffs]. Well, get ready. We’re going.”

Ryan famously proclaimed that he had no intention of kissing Bill Belichick‘s rings when he was named Jets coach in 2009, and he stated Wednesday that he hasn’t lost “his swagger.”

“We’re not afraid of anybody,” he said, adding later: “We’re going to go into games expecting to win, regardless of who we play.”

The Bills already have a defense that finished fourth in the NFL in fewest yards allowed this season and had a league-high 54 sacks. Ryan, known for his defensive focus, said the team can be better.

“Fourth in the league was probably a little disappointing,” he said. “I know we’ll lead the league in defense.”

As for the offense, Ryan said: “We’re going to be aggressive, and you’ll see that early. … We will not build our offensive game plan around our punter. We will not major in punting.”

Added Ryan: “We’re going to build a bully and we’re going to see if you want to play it for 60 minutes.”

Tom Brady explains why he gets ‘pretty edgy’ on weeks like this, even for Gisele

01.14.15 at 2:33 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Like many kids during exam week, Tom Brady is not a great guy to be around before a big game like the AFC championship this Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

“I get pretty edgy,” Brady said during his Wednesday press conference. “I just think there’€™s a high level of pressure every week and the pressure is on from the moment… it’€™s like watching the games on Sunday, you watch the first game,€“ Cowboys-Packers, and it’€™s kind of fun. Then all of a sudden you watch the Denver game, Indy play, and as soon as that game ends it’€™s like, Boom! The clock starts. It’€™s a race to see who can prepare the best over the course of the week.”

Most of the time, Brady said, he’s chilled during the week before a game. He tries to relax and just bring it for the three hours on game day. But this week is different.

Brady even admitted that his supermodel wife Gisele Bunchden, has asked him about his mood leading up to games like Sunday. “[She says] what’€™s your problem?”

And like with kids getting ready for next week’s midterms, Tom Brady‘s tension is understandable. He is trying to get back to his sixth Super Bowl, which would be a record for a starting quarterback. He had a little time to enjoy Saturday’s win and watched Sunday’s Packers-Cowboys game. But then he reached a new level on Sunday afternoon as he was watching the Colts eliminate the Broncos.

‘€œThere are not many opportunities you get during the season to have a time where you don’€™t know who your opponent is,” Brady said. “Obviously after we won on Saturday, you have that little moment of time where you’€™re not really preparing for anybody. Then as soon as you know the opponent, the anxiousness starts building and building and building. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2015 playoffs, AFC Championship, Gisele, Gisele Bundchen

Bryan Stork lone Patriots player not present at practice Wednesday in advance of AFC championship game

01.14.15 at 12:43 pm ET
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Bryan Stork

Bryan Stork

FOXBORO — After leaving Saturday’s game with a knee injury, rookie center Bryan Stork was the only Patriots player not present at the start of practice on Wednesday in advance of Sunday’s AFC championship game against the Colts at Gillette Stadium.

The practice was held outside on the game field at Gillette Stadium in temperatures near 20 degrees.

“I think Bryan has done a good job for us,”€ said coach Bill Belichick on Tuesday’s conference call. “€œWe finished the game without him last week and if he wasn’€™t available then we’€™d be in a similar situation this week. Whether it would be the same [personnel] or different, I don’€™t really want to get into that. He’€™s obviously done a good job for us, he’€™s grown along the way.”

Brandon Browner, who left Saturday’s game and didn’t return, was present at the session.

The Patriots will release their first injury report of the week later in the afternoon.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: 2015 playoffs, Bryan Stork,

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